Originally Posted by jimbunyard
Permanent means for the foreseeable future.
Problem being that the bay and parts
of it's watershed are heavily polluted with Persistent Organic Pollutants, chemicals that do not break down, are toxic, and bioaccumulate. That means your body does not get rid of them on it's own and while your exposure may be low, their concentrations will increase in your body as long as you continue to receive exposure. These pollutants include PCB's, Dioxins, HAP's, Mercury
, and a variety of other metals.
The problems in Newark Bay specifically are in large part the result of a couple of factors, starting with a Federally Authorized navigational channel in the Passaic River dating from the end of the 19th century which was artificially deep and maintained through sporadic dredging.
In the 1950's the lower channel ceased to be maintained which coincided with the growth of the local chemical industry which continued the following decades. As industry dumped more and more chemicals, the previously dredged channel filled itself in such that an eight mile stretch of the river contains nearly 10 million cubic yards of heavily contaminated sediment.
While their were a variety of industries that contributed to the pollution, one of the worst offenders was Diamond Alkali, a significant producer of Agent Orange used as a defoliant in the Vietnam
War, whose site is now a EPA Superfund Site capped with concrete.
While most of the pollution remains trapped in the bottom, erosion caused by heavy river flow periodically releases contaminates into the bay itself. Last year the EPA proposed a $1.7 billion dredging project
which is currently tied up in court and likely decades away, a somewhat dubious notion to begin with as disturbing the bottom will doubtless release more pollution into the bay.
There are a number of fish
species present in the bay and the state issues consumption
advisories however crabs live on the bottom and are the most heavily contaminated to the extent that they themselves constitute "toxic waste".
Poor people gotta eat and the area is not the wealthiest. The state posts notices against crabbing and crab consumption
however these are often torn down by locals. I have met some of these individuals. They don't believe the pollution could be that bad or that there is nothing that won't be taken care of by cooking
(boiling) the crabs. Often they are older individuals who have been crabbing their whole lives.
Really very sad. I have a hard time believing the responsible parties were unaware of what they were doing. Their mess is unlikely to be cleaned up fully within the next generation. That's what I mean by permanent.